Newport School's Anastasia Goncharova usually doesn't get many chances to shoot three-pointers. The 6-foot-1 senior forward is predominantly an inside player, but with leading scorer Roslyn Vernoy unavailable--she is scheduled to take the Scholastic Assessment Test today--Goncharova took to the perimeter and made the most of her opportunity.
Goncharova made four three-pointers and scored a game-high 22 points as the Kensington private school held off Dunbar, 60-57, in Northwest.
"She's a great pure shooter," said Newport Coach Tiffany Green, whose Tigers improved to 13-5. "Unfortunately, we play her most of the time in the post. But with Roslyn out, I told all of my players that we needed to step it up. Anastasia is capable of taking those shots and sticking them. And she did it."
Goncharova scored 12 points in the first half as Newport took a 32-21 lead into intermission.
"I was just feeling the shot," she said. "I'm very happy with the way that I played. There were a lot of open spots on the zone and my teammates found them. We took the opportunities given to us."
The Tigers' pressure defense and matchup zone gave the Crimson Tide (9-7) problems. Dunbar committed 20 turnovers and struggled to find open shots as Newport built a 44-29 third-quarter advantage.
The Crimson Tide's high-scoring back court of Danyelle Payne and Joanna Barnes--held to a combined 16 points in the first half--heated up in the second. Payne finished with 29 points and Barnes--who scored seven points during a 13-5 run at the end of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth that cut the lead to 49-42--added 20.
Newport, however, responded and took a 60-49 lead with three minutes remaining. Barnes and Payne scored the game's final eight points, but the lead was never seriously threatened.
Dunbar played without one of its key defensive players, senior guard Rhodia Smith, who has been suspended indefinitely by Coach Johnnie Walker for breaking team rules.
"We didn't play hard in the first half because my girls feel if they go out too hard early, they'll be tired later," said Walker, who had only seven players available. "They have to understand that they have to come out playing hard from the beginning.
"I was forced to improvise today. And we aren't used to seeing anybody in the inner-city league--except for Anacostia and H.D. Woodson--who can make that three-point shot with as much consistency as [Goncharova] did all night."